During the evening-wear parade at Miss Botswana 2007/2008 finals on Friday 16th November, news had began spreading from one table to the next that one of the girls’ dress had gone missing, causing her not to appear on stage.
Michelle Kgwarapi, 20, who works as a debt collector, was then called repeatedly on to the stage as she amazingly had made it into the Top 10. In her absence the question and answer session proceeded. As the first 7 of the remaining 9 finalists on stage answered the questions posed to them by the judges, the light drizzle that had rained on the audience, contestants and appealing deco on Gaborone Sun’s green lawn got a tad bit heavier and chillier.
The event’s Master of Ceremony, Benson Phuthego, after having gone backstage to confer with the organising team, told the audience that had scurried away from their seats to the nearest shelters: “We are aware of your discomfort and will start the Top 10 round afresh at a date that will be advertised in the media at a later date.”
As people dispersed, some parents and well wishers lingered near the hotel room that was appointed as a changing room for the evening, at which point a woman identified as Michelle’s mother stormed into the room murmuring aloud to herself, “I want these people to tell me what happened to my daughters dress.”
After a short while, she walked out and The Sunday Standard took the opportunity to ask to talk to her.
Teko Kgwarapi said, “I dropped the dress off at 5pm today and don’t understand how it could have gotten lost.
“Not only does it not make sense. The dress was worth P3000 and we also had to have expensive tailoring done on it to fit well.”
Eye witness claimed that during the evening wear parade Michelle’s mother after realising what had happened fainted.
It also emerged during conversations with various eye-witnesses that Michelle’s journey through Miss Botswana 2007/2008 has been a bumpy one. During the semi finals held at the Fashion Lounge a different girl was sent onstage when Michelle was announced as a finalist.
“It was the judges who saved the day, immediately pointing out that the girl who ramped onstage was not Michelle. And thanks to this evenings rain; the contest would have ended without Mchelle’s participation.” The eye witness said.
Michelle’s mother says she has reason to believe that her daughter was being treated appallingly by the team, “Michelle is one strong girl who doesn’t cry easily; but almost all the time after rehearsals and events she would come home crying that she was scolded for her walking and answers,” Kgwarapi said.
The organising team were adamant that they could not speak to the media as they did not need the bad press. They then shut themselves in the hotel room with three policewomen.